On Being Brave 

Artwork: The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai.

Artwork: The Great Wave at Kanagawa (from a Series of Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji) by Katsushika Hokusai.

I’m being called to make changes in my life, some of them enormous. I’m no stranger to making big changes but this is, I’ll admit it, making me feel less brave than I’d like to feel. I’m not really ready to share too much about this particular change, it’s in its formative stage so needs some brewing before it’s ready to air but I am looking around me and seeking inspiration to be brave, to step into my own self more fully and to be open to what I find.  

I feel inspired by people who are brave and go out into the world to make change, to believe in themselves enough to begin making a wave, no matter how small the start. I love this too as an example to our children of what it means to be brave and to be a true open-hearted warrior. It is so easy to be the opposite, to sit in safety and hide and as parents and teachers if we seek to be inspirational to our children how amazing if we can find some place in our lives to show them bravery and commitment so they too will believe they can be a strong warrior themselves.

In times of finding/questioning/challenging my own bravery, I am often am called to revisit Brenee Brown. If you have ever heard her speak (here’s a link) or read any of her books (names )  you’ll know she is a woman who steps out of her comfort zone and  speaks and writes about difficult topics difficult like shame. Her wisdom brings comfort to many but in doing so she bares her soul and often. I so admire her for being brave and for having the courage of her convictions. 

 

Recently I felt blessed to have found and to take part in the Worldwide Womb Blessing. It is an example of how a woman, Miranda Gray began to flourish her own idea; she put the idea and herself out there for her dream to foster more feminine energy into the world. Not only does she see it as personally healing and empowering for women as part of their journey to being their real selves but she also whole-heartedly believes in feminine energy as a way back to world healing, so strongly entrenched in masculine energy as the current world is. Not only did I love the womb blessing experience on a deep and personal level  but I loved even more that this started with a woman who was brave enough to begin such an event.

Every week on our Instagram feed we feature an instagrammer we admire. This week we featured @kindstars who as a teacher runs a Kindness Club at her school and promotes kindness on her feed! Speaking up and beginning something like this is a seemingly small act on the world stage but it is powerful at a grassroots level and has the capacity to blossom as the lives that are touched by her initiative will be multiplied many times over!  

But if you want to be a living example to your children in being brave, you don’t need to foster a world-wide event, become a world authority, or even begin a local initiative. You can be brave in your own life in so many ways and it starts in knowing your own truth and being brave enough to stand in it. It is what living mindfully fosters, to take the values we identify as our own and then to live our lives by those values.

For me, I want to be brave for myself but I also want to be a great example of bravery for my children. The reality though is they have been far braver than me and I have learned from them that to be brave and live your own life is all there is. They have abandoned unsatisfying lives and careers, moved states and countries and really are an inspiration in bravery for me. Your own children may be living examples of bravery for you or you for them. Whatever or whoever is currently fostering the role of bravery it is an assurance that better lives come when we live as a reflection of ourselves.

Operating at Our Best

_MG_5078.jpg

I love the idea of being in your best place, doing your best work, being your best person, with the emphasis on what works for you because we all have our own version of ‘living our best life’. My thoughts this week centre around what this means to me and how you might also investigate what it means to you and your family and children.

Each week I write my blog here in the State Library in Brisbane. It’s a beautiful space – very open and the workspace I always choose faces the Brisbane River through a vista of trees. Aesthetics are important to me. Somehow being in beauty and being in an ordered environment help my creative juices to flow and for me to operate at my best. It’s not the same for everyone but this is what I’ve discovered through trial and error what works best for me. 

I know of others who can sit amongst any manner of mess and stare at a blank wall or computer screen and it’s an open invitation to create. For them, it’s like the mind can best create when their outside world is not ordered. Then for others, they create an entirely different environment as they seek what is best for them.

One of my children finds she can’t do her best creating on a computer – it must be hand-written in a journal and then transcribed to the computer. She finds it inconvenient but has conceded to herself that this is part of how she creates at her best. 

Not everyone has being creative as their focus for ‘living your best life’. For me to be creative is where I feel at home, where I feel calmest, most focused and most definitely most fully myself. For others, that is not the case and some feel their best uploading data or creating systems, managing people or places or any other manner of activities!

It’s part of the process of getting to know yourself and what works in your life. How fortunate we are that we are all different and have different ways of operating at our best. 

There are naturally restraints that don’t allow us to live in our best place all of the time but it’s a goal worth working for and prioritizing for an amount of our lives to be in that space. It will make a difference to our levels of contentment and joy.

As parents and teachers, there are opportunities to make sure we help our children to be aware that we all are different, to feel it’s a goal to find what allows us to operate in our ‘best place’ and to also help them find what is their own best place. 

We can offer them alternatives to try in their lives by way of experiences, activities, clothes, foods, environments… the list is endless really. Remember when they become engrossed in an activity, or in a particular space then it is a good indication that this entices them to be their best selves.  Being there allows us to almost lose knowledge of time, to feel exhilarated and contented but most importantly, in this space, we can be truly ourselves. 

I’ve always admired this quote from Michelle Obama and wanted to use it – I think it sits well here to close.

'Find your space. Find your spot. Wear what you love. Choose the careers that may have meaning to you, because there’s always somebody who will say, ‘I wouldn’t have worn that colour,’ or ‘Why didn’t you do that job?’ But if you’re comfortable in the choice and it resonates with you, then all that other stuff – it’s just a conversation.’

- Michelle Obama

Time and Opportunity Help us be Present and be Real

IMG_0584.jpg

I have been blessed to spend 12 days at Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat on the beautiful island of Bali. I’ve been there many times before and totally enjoy the experience and gain wonderful health benefits from the deep cleansing. There is always an abundance of really interesting people to share the experience with and I go back to life, as I know it feeling invigorated and peaceful.

This trip, however, was different. This time for one reason or another there was less opportunity for social interaction, resulting in me spending more time alone. My health has always been excellent but this time, after a stressful period of my life, I had manifestations of that stress which meant my treatments were more intense so I couldn’t participate in general activities as much as usual so hence even more alone time.

Turns out this is what the universe had in store for me all along and this period was not only physically healing but emotionally, mentally and spiritually as well. During this alone time, I went within on a deeper level than usual. I  meditated a lot, up to 4 times a day, alongside my usual TM practice I did guided meditations that connected me more deeply with my higher self and spirit guides. I read inspirational books, one, in particular, it seems the universe was signalling me to read for a while now. It was there waiting for me in my room at the retreat, after being previously offered but I had never gotten around to reading it. The treatments themselves also culminate in a holistic whole mind, body and spirit cleaning so all these elements coming together were perfect timing for me. Sometimes everything aligns to allow you the time to engage in self-love and to accept the time and space to be open to re-discover your true self and what you are needing to move forward on your path.

All the messages I kept receiving were centred around a simple yet not necessarily easy premise, “Be present and be real’. If I’m honest, I have to admit that I had been doing a good job of distracting myself. I showed up when I needed to but my head had become skilled at distracting me from anything I didn't really want to deal with; painful things or boring mundane things or things that I just deemed ‘too hard’. It is when we are present and real with ourselves that we can face our reality in a very healing way. 

Now, after this period of healing, I feel far more centred within myself and ready and able to face the reality of life. My own intuition had already been telling me that I was distracting myself, the first step for change but I didn’t feel emotionally strong enough to make that change. I now feel so much more comfortable with myself, believe in my ability to deal with what arises and very importantly, to realise that this is life, I’m living, there are a series of challenges that happen – some fun and easy and others just the opposite! But to get to this point, time and opportunity were needed with myself alongside the acceptance of what I found. I don’t have all the answers but I do feel more able to keep asking them.

Find below a poem I wrote during my time away...

wk 2 july poem.jpg

 

 

A More Minimalist Mindful Life

1939972_10203595074544173_125741920_n.jpg

Recently I saw a documentary, ‘The Minimalists’ – which highlights primarily the work  of two friends, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn who have books, a website and lectures that support the concept of minimalism. They are a pair of young, former high-flyers who discovered that despite their amazing jobs and top salaries and the myriad of possessions they had accumulated, they were far from content and happy. They subsequently abandoned these lives to take up the challenge of living with a very small footprint.

Their message definitely resonated with me as ‘simplify’ has become a big goal in my own life.  For many years life was very complicated and burdensome and I’m now in a place where things are far simpler. I was kept busy doing a myriad of things to support the multitude of ‘stuff’ going on in my life and it felt heavy and at times drama-filled and even out of control. So much time, energy and money are involved in maintaining a life like that! It can mean we sacrifice what we consider truly important – people, both others and ourselves. 

So to continue with ‘The Minimalists’ Ryan and Joshua simplifed their working lives so they could be more in control, more in the moment, work less and be less stressed but they also embarked on a major downsizing in their possessions and I feel myself being drawn to this concept as well. And it isn’t about giving away everything you love and existing in a life without esoteric pleasure. Instead they explained that they have fewer versions of everything but absolutely love what they do have! For example, instead of having twenty shirts that are ‘ok’, they have six they absolutely ‘adore’! I love this idea too – how freeing to look in your wardrobe and be happy to wear anything in it!  I’ve still got some way to go – my wardrobe is way too big!  I wear perhaps 20% of my wardrobe but every outing and every day involves wading through it all to make the decision of what to wear! I feel a new project coming on!

They weren’t the only minimalists featured in the documentary, they shared a myriad of people living in a very similar way. One was a permanent traveller whose total life possessions were in two small carry bags. There was another who had chosen to abandon the big house for a tiny one so she could reduce her expenses, work less and lead a simpler, more connected life. Another segment featured a young family and the parents decided to minimalize their personal possessions and household items substantially. However, they felt the kids didn’t need to be so strict with their own personal stuff so were using their own example of how they live to positively influence their children towards leading a less materialistic life. I admire that gentle parenting approach – it’s thoughtful on many levels and joins the other people featured in a common theme of mindful living. 

‘Love people and use Things’ –Joshua Fields Millburn made this comment of undeniable wisdom in the documentary.  It keeps going around in my head.  I understand that most probably we all agree with this sentiment in an intellectual sense but do we actually live our lives according to it?  For me that is at its essence what this is about – it’s about honouring people – ourselves and others and to treat possessions as what they really are – things to be gratefully used! If we make mindful decisions about how to live our lives, how much attention we place on accumulating ‘things’ we will find far more time, energy and yes even money for the things that matter – people and that includes ourselves as well as others.

 

Living in the Present Opens us to Experience Life 

Salt Flats 01 By Steve Back

Salt Flats 01 By Steve Back

I often receive messages into my heart that everything will be as it should, that opportunities with people and experiences will arise and all I really need to do is keep the portal open to receiving them. Being present enough to recognise and receive them is the challenge. 

On a personal level, the universe sends me frequent messages to keep my options open! It bombards me often with advice. When I’m walking out and about I hear, ‘Smile.’ When I’m meeting new people I hear, ‘Be accepting of who you find.’ A new opportunity or experience may arise and I hear, ‘Be open to new things.’  I’m feeling the need to be open to life, to keep the portal open and let life stream in! And I need to be present for that to happen.

It’s not easy to fall into judgment when you view life in this way because people, places and experiences become things you encounter; there seems little point in judging. Every day I move closer into the belief that life happens, that all will be revealed in the fullness of time and whatever is part of my life plan will happen and grow or wither, accordingly. The challenge is again to be mindful that this is how I want to view life. 

It reminds me of a story my son tells. It’s about a spiritual guru who was constantly being asked questions about what the secret to his contentment and happiness was. In the end his simple, yet profound answer was, ‘I’m okay with whatever happens!’ When you think about it, it’s a brilliant life philosophy and one I’m trying to incorporate into mine.

Life is also full of the unexpected and sometimes we can be upset when challenges and opportunities that come our way are not exactly as we had anticipated. Like many of my generation, I had a pretty solid plan of how my life was supposed to look and for a long time I kept to the plan. Now, not so much! I believe the universe had other plans for me and my own plans became overturned. Interesting because as I became more open to letting go of the plan, the more interesting life became with new opportunities presenting themselves.  The more present I am, the more I see them and the braver I become in accepting them and living through them with some working out and others not so much. 

Not that I think my earlier life experiences were wasted – far from it!  The learnings that took place in that earlier life are so useful to me now, but in a way that I hadn’t predicted. Life skills are life skills and will always be useful no matter what path our life takes.

It’s easy in our attempt to set ourselves goals that we actually lose sight of all that life offers in the present moment. By keeping ourselves open to whatever comes our way we are really allowing the universe to help move us through instead of spending time thinking about what could have been and imagining what might be – better to open to what is, in my opinion!  I’m coming to trust the universe to inspire me and move me forward. I encourage myself to give up the blinkers and I aspire to be brave enough to be open to what life offers. 

Being mindful will help me move to that place. To keep the portal open means to be in the present moment. We can’t see what’s there if we are constantly thinking about the future or the past. Those opportunities can easily pass us by if we aren’t looking for them in the here and now.

Slow Living, Mindfully

Childs pose 3.jpg

A couple of weeks ago I spent a mindful afternoon with a group of children and their parents at a local yoga studio sharing my new children’s workshop, Slow Down, Mindfully. The session offers children and families an opportunity to experience a period of time where they can be calm, go slow and basically take a step back from the busy lives so many of us seem to live today. All of us experienced some downtime and enjoyed the energy in the room that reflected our goal.

For the record, I was not a perfect example of mindful mothering. It was a pretty busy household when I was a mother to three small children and it is only now that they are adults that I can view that life as heavy with school and after-school activities. When homework and play dates were thrown into the mix, I wish I’d had the awareness then, to put aside more time for slow, quiet experiences. Having said that I revel in the way they have now established lives for themselves which embrace meditation, time in nature and slow purposeful engagement so perhaps I’m being too hard on myself! 

But I digress! What we all enjoyed in that workshop afternoon was an opportunity to experience being slow, being calm, being present and paying attention. There was music and movement, art activities, a guided meditation and opportunities and experiences for grounding and being in the present moment, some from my book, Making Mindful Magic.

I loved that so many parents came and joined in with their children. That is what sharing your own truth with your children is all about. I understand that’s not always possible but it was a great opportunity for those parents to show and share what they value in life. Certainly, kids are never always on board with being quiet and slow and calm but I really believe there are times for even the most boisterous child, when living in the slow lane is a blessed relief and the more often they partake, the more obvious it will be to them that some slow and calm time is an important part of their lives.

I actively encourage parents to attend the sessions not only as a powerful example but also because they can see some ways to bring the slow, the calm and the quiet to family life, even if it’s only for a short time every day. The results will be worth the small effort of setting aside that quiet time. You don’t need to be any sort of expert but what is required is a desire to offer mindful moments to your children be that as a teacher, parent, grandparent or carer of any type. Your own example of being slow, centred and calm is also a powerful example and can positively reflect in children’s lives. 

I am not saying I’m an expert mindfulness practitioner, by the way. I’m motivated by my own personal experience of the benefits of mindfulness and a desire to share that in a practical way. I’ve been meditating for the last ten years and know first-hand how life-changing, making time to be slow and calm can be. By adding my teaching skills to the mix, I’m sharing mindful experiences that are practical, easy, fun and inexpensive and abundantly appropriate to use in everyday life. 

You’ll find many resources on our website to help parents and teachers share mindfulness with their children. You can find out more about hosting a workshop here. We’d love to work with you.

5 Non-Toxic Alternatives for Families and Children

You may be looking for easy ways you can improve your home and health this year for your family and children. We believe these non-toxic alternatives to common household items could be just the thing you need to make a fresh start and detox your home this year, for your health, your children’s health and the health of the planet!

Read More

Opening into the New Year

Opening into the New Year

The New Year is looming, looking to ignite us all into the quest for new beginnings. Its message is enticing but unless we create space in our lives, how can we make room for and welcome the new? Perhaps that’s why so many of us fall by the wayside in the quest to keep those resolutions? Perhaps we just don’t make the time to look at our lives in the first place! 

Read More

Happy Mindful Christmas!

MMM xmas_instagram.jpg

It's officially Christmas shopping season, meaning a time of decisions on how you'll spend your dollars mindfully.

If you're looking for conscious, positive gifts for children this Christmas, our children's book, Making Mindful Magic and our art prints make for the perfect gift for children of all ages - nieces, nephews, grandkids, godchildren, friends' children and your own kids!

And we have some special offers for you in our online store...


IMG_8336.jpg

 

 

Free EXPRESS shipping within Australia


Receive free EXPRESS shipping on all orders in our online shop within Australia until 18 December*. Our updated* cut-off to ensure you receive your package before Christmas is Monday 18 December...

Use code 'christmasshipping' at checkout and we will personally update your shipping to EXPRESS POST. 


CHRISTMAS SHOPPING

 

 

 

 


art prints set.jpg

Art print bundles


Get the full set of our five artwork prints, from our book, Making Mindful Magic, Find Stars, Sit Quietly, Gaze at Treetops, Walk Barefoot on Grass, Watch Waves, one for each of the mindful kids in your life.

Get 20% off when you purchase five prints together (price for 5 x prints = $64.75, discounted set = $49.95).

SHOP ART PRINT SET

 


book + print deal_IG.jpg

 

Art print + book


Purchase our mindfulness book for children, Making Mindful Magic and an art print of your choice from the book together a receive 24% off! Perfect as a gift for the children and Mums-to-be in your life!

SHOP PRINT + BOOK SET

 

 

 

Music for Meditation and Mindfulness

‘Listening to music or playing music can also help us step outside our small sense of self, into a larger, more expansive awareness, just as meditation can.’ Anja Tanhane

By Javier Perez 

By Javier Perez 

Music as a practical tool for meditation and mindfulness is an obvious concept when you stop to consider it. When I even think of music and how I interact with it, I immediately feel more grounded and more centred in my own heart. There are many ways to invite music into our lives, not all of them are mindful although all are certainly joyful and advantageous. Music is often a backdrop to many other things we are currently doing and that is a totally valid expression of our love for music. It soothes and relaxes or invigorates and excites, depending largely on what we are listening to. But music used as a mindfulness practice is something a little different.   

If a musician or student is interacting with their instrument in the act of music making, it is essential to focus fully on playing the piece – present moment engagement comes with the territory and some even liken it to meditation so akin is it to the essence of mindfulness! You can read more about that idea here.

If you are listening to music then you can listen on a superficial level, with the piece playing in the background as you go about your many other activities and that is most definitely a valid way to use music in your life. It is uplifting to envelope ourselves with beauty and it is an appropriate addition to many situations, socially or individually and is how many people generally interact with music – for fun and enjoyment! 

The other way you can listen to music is to engage with it very mindfully, focus on it only, doing nothing other than listening to it, allowing it to engage with us fully and to evoke the emotional responses that allow us to focus on our inner selves. In this article there is great advice about ways to prepare ourselves for this type of interaction with music. Put simply we need to remove possible and real distractions from the physical situation so we are best able to really allow ourselves to feel the music and feel our emotions arise. We may need to look at our physical environment, seeking a quiet place, making sure we are physically comfortable. 

This is not only for adults but using music as an emotional response can be cultivated in children from an early age. In our Seven Day Challenge for Calm Nights eBook available for download here, we suggest listening to music as a path to a better night’s sleep. In this situation music is a calming, relaxing tool, an emotional experience when there is mindful engagement with a piece of music. 

In other ways music can also be used as an evocative method to connect with our emotions as a form of therapy as we allow our emotions to rise, to be held in the safety of the beauty of the music and to let those emotions fade away in the same way as a wave rises and falls. Positive and negative emotions may arise at different times. A physical response can be involved, perhaps the music calls you to move – sometimes in celebration and other times as a physical release for something difficult in your life. It can be incredibly healing and cathartic. 

Music has played a changing role in my own life. I was at one time living a life with so much noise that I felt music was an intrusion into my personal space and psyche. When things changed and my life slowed down and became less chaotic the music joy came back to me, uplifting me as it is so capable of doing. Music soothes me, it entices me to move and when I move, emotions and feelings surface and come to peek out at the world. The world heals us if we let it. Music can heal and restore. I guess the conclusion of this personal observation is to make space in your life for music, set aside some special time for real interaction with it as you use it as a tool for the whole family to move forward into mindfulness.

5 Ways to Re-ground

It’s Monday morning as I write this and I just had a really fun week-end - I played tourist in another city with friends! It was a party week-end and disruptive to my regular routine but you know I have enough self-love to not beat up on myself and to accept that as normal behaviour in the human condition! Seeing new sights, sounds, places, people can be very stimulating, is loads of fun but it can make us feel ungrounded. It’s not how I want to fee all the time but it is part of my life. 

This week’s blog post is about exploring ways to re-ground after a time of excessive fun, however that looks to you. It’s not just a message for adults it’s very much a lesson for families as well – you know a week-end that included maybe a birthday party, a sleep-over, lots of play dates, late nights for whatever reason – it happens, we all know it happens and it can in fact serve as a poignant reminder of how we feel when we are grounded as opposed to how we feel when are ungrounded! 

How do I recognise I have become ungrounded? I tend to l lose my sense of calm and my heart races just a tad more quickly. I don’t notice my surroundings as much but begin looking for the next fun thing to do rather than immersing myself in the current moment and what I’m actually doing so in a way I’m not embracing the current experience. I find my mind starts racing from one thing to another, I feel scattered and don’t sleep all that well! Some people may even suffer from a little or a lot of anxiety or depression, depending on your make-up. 

So there I was on a Monday morning and feeling not as connected to myself as I usually do so here are five things I do to make myself feel more connected and grounded. They work for me, always do and perhaps they’ll resonate with you as well.

 

1. I re-engage with my regular routine and rituals

So to get myself back in touch with myself I make sure I do my regular morning routine. It starts with 20 minutes of meditation, a short 15 minutes of yoga, I pull an oracle card to inspire me for the day, I use my collection of seven crystals to clear my chakras and I write in my journal. That’s just me – think of your own and frame it around your own commitments and life. Some time taken for rituals will enhance your connection with yourself, no matter how long you have to use. You will no doubt recognise those things that work for your children as well but I think it’s well accepted that children need routines in their lives to feel secure and grounded.

 

2. I take a walk in nature

I don’t need to go far, a 30 minute stroll around the close-by riverfront and parkland, down some quiet tree-lined streets, shoes off from to time to really feel the grass and earth beneath me and my real connection to it, will help enormously.

 

3. I engage purposefully in an activity

I take my time making my breakfast, I concentrate on being very focused, careful and purposeful as I cut, mixed, pour, spread and eat. I love feeling the return of the flow in my system

 

4. I listen to some calming music

Find something that works for you – today I listened to some Deval Premal & Miten. I make a little time for myself to do nothing other than listen and to allow myself to react to it with a little movement, allowing the emotions to rise up so I can hold them without judgment for a short time.

 

5. I am very careful about what I eat

After a party week-end I like to be careful and to eat really well! If you listen to your body you’ll know what cleanses you. For me it’s things like lots of vegetables, perhaps some dahl and rice. This type of eating makes me feel calm, the making of it alone makes me feel connected and grounded – it’s worth taking the time and making the effort for the rewards you’ll feel.

 

That’s what I do to re-ground myself after some time of being less careful. We all do this, kids do this, families do this - it’s called being human! Some of my methods may be useful for you and your family but if you have your own fixes we’d love to hear and see them on our social media. (Can you put links here?)

To help keep myself more present and mindful I’m going to be posting this week an experience each day this week that is helping me stay grounded – would you like to join me?

Make Music Together to be Mindful

This weekend was a musical extravaganza for me –on Friday night I went to a ukulele jam session at a local café and then Saturday my choir performed with a number of others in an incredible afternoon of a combined choir experience. It made me feel happy and uplifted for sure as all those endorphins flooded into my body and soul but it also reminded me how mindful making music really is!  I think it’s virtually impossible to not be present when you are making music of any sort!

That’s a gift for any person and any family to embrace! Last week I wrote about the need to share in a simple way our values and passions with our children. My blog told the story of a friend, a dedicated dad who shares his mindfulness passion by engaging his daughter through verbalising what he sees, what he hears, what sensations he’s feeling as they ride his bike together and she reciprocates and the passion grows very organically and without a lot of effort, but with a lot of purpose! 

You can do the same with the children in your life with singing and music! This is not about how musical you are either - there are a myriad of youtube experiences from which you can learn a simple children’s song, the internet is full of them! Or you can choose a song they sing at school or kindy, find it on youtube and use it until you can sing it together alone. If it has actions – even better! You are riveted in the present moment when you sing an action song! How about the Hokey Pokey – you remember ‘You put your right foot in, you put your right foot out…..” Find it here  

When I do workshops with kids, I always include a finger play or action song – you can see a little bit of Incy Wincer Spider below...

You can use musical instruments for mindfulness in a similar way – you don’t need expensive, authentic instruments for this either, although if they are at your place already go right aheadand use them. If you don’t’ you can make music from a myriad of home-made ‘instruments’ – rice filled jars make wonderful maracas! You can also easily make home-made drums with empty cans, sturdy brown paper and rubber bands.   Bells inside whisks are pretty amazing and check this out for a myriad of other ideas -    https://au.pinterest.com/explore/homemade-musical-instruments/?lp=true  Find some music you all like and play along together. Pretty simple isn’t it and there you are sharing the gift of mindfulness with the children in your lives! 

Most of us love listening to music but there is active and passive listening and only one is mindful, although both are highly enjoyable!  Passive listening allows you to go about your business with music playing in the background but active listening through which you can purposefully set aside some time to sit and listen and engage with music, invites us to be mindful. This is something you can easily share with the children in your lives. I favour something that aligns with the emotions so you can feel freely and to let more feelings arise. The point here is to let yourself be reactive to what you hear – it can be through movement and dance or you can sit and let the feelings that arise to just be held withininstead of trying to supress them which is never helpful in the long term.

Caring and sharing are closely linked – we all care about our children, use whatever opportunities that arise to share your passion to be mindful. Music adds such a wonderful, connected opportunity to being mindful so making time to include it in family life makes a whole lot of sense!  

 

Your Choices Matter!

Nancy Katanari Tjillya / Tree of Life (in collaboration w/ Alison Riley, Nyurpaya Kaika, Nurina Burton) 2011 198 x 122cm via pinterest

Nancy Katanari Tjillya / Tree of Life (in collaboration w/ Alison Riley, Nyurpaya Kaika, Nurina Burton) 2011 198 x 122cm via pinterest

Mindful Living is all about the choices you make and one of those is definitely who, what and where you choose to share your time and space with. This idea of being consciously mindful of the decisions we make has a direct correlation to the way we lead our lives and to our personal well-being, development and contentment.

I have recently experienced a great example of this in practice when I moved to a new suburb where I’m finding the collective energy to be a big shift. This concept is tied up with surrounding yourself with people who uphold and improve our own energy rather than those who drain and diminish it. I feel there is a sense of prevailing calm, a freshness in the air that I suspect comes not only from the abundance of huge ancient tress but also from the openness of its residents. No doubt stories are held in the structure of the old homes that are adjacent to my relatively new apartment block that leak into the energy field as well.

There feels a sense of freedom from judgement here – many walks of life, socio-economic streams, ethnicity, diverse interests all seem to work together with a high degree of acceptance and harmony. In my short time here I feel it’s going to be okay to be me, to live my life as I choose. I believe the lack of judgement I’m feeling will reflect in my own psyche as well and that I will become more accepting and less judgemental of myself and others.

This collective energy not only exists in where you live, it can be about who you spend your time with socially, at work, who you live with, where you shop or congregate, where you send your children to school, who they spend time with.

It’s another aspect of mindful living, re-enforcing the notion that the choices we make, the actions we follow will eventually reflect in our own lives for better or worse. Our choices matter!

Collective energy, collective permission to be yourself and to let others be themselves – it’s a place to work from, a place to move gently towards self-awareness and self-acceptance as well as acceptance of others. I think it can be a genuine guiding light for families – seek those people and places, experiences and situations that enhance the positive energy you seek in your life and for the lives of your children.

 

 

Making Mindful Health Choices through Ayurveda

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to spend two weeks detoxing at Sukhavati Ayurvedic Retreat Bali and whilst I feel blessed and fortunate I was able to have that time for myself, the lessons Ayurvedic medicine can bring to family life is available for anyone, anytime, any place.

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian practice of medicine and really a way of life as well. It harks back to one of my favourite themes – making mindful choices about how we live our lives. In the ‘olden days’ as I called it as a child before modern medicine became so readily available, generations had passed down their health secrets and remedies via the wisdom of the family matriarchs. They didn’t all work of course but many have stood the test of time as people have now become more aware and more interested in directing their own health care and by using natural methods to achieve it. Ayurveda is thousands of years old and is one of those health systems and practices passed down through the generations.

You could say Ayurveda is involved in establishing personal health regimes that are largely preventative towards illness and to use the natural world to help existing ailments. For example, as a family, you may wish to establish sleeping routines that are more in sync with nature like ‘early to bed’ an idea that follows our natural patterns of when we are actually ready for the sleeping cycle. Or you can easily explore which type of constitution you have and then choose to adhere to a lifestyle and way of eating that syncs with your own body to bring greater health and contentment to your life.

It is fascinating to explore what Ayurveda can offer and obviously in my short blog with my layman’s knowledge I can’t begin to paint the whole Ayurvedic picture. There are many authors who dedicate themselves to writing about Ayurveda, some more easily readable than others but the book I absolutely love and is written with adaptation to everyday life is Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health by Mark Bunn. I love the point of view he writes from and the sub-title says it all for me, ‘rediscover the simple, timeless secrets of health and happiness.”

I’d love to report that I always follow an Ayurvedic lifestyle but given the demands of everyday modern life, I do the best I can, adhering to whatever resonates with me and what brings the greatest results for me personally! I do know, however, after spending two weeks immersed religiously in its practice, it is possible to feel very, very well, centered and contented so I try to make as many mindful choices that support Ayurvedic principles as are practical for me.

 

An ayurvedic doctor's tips for healthy eating

There is a beautiful doctor in India who I've had the pleasure of meeting; he sparkles with the joy of living. Many westerners visit his clinics and he imparts to them pearls of wisdom.

He says, because of our way of life in the West, almost everybody he sees suffer from a 'vata' imbalance. A person with a Vata imbalance will have physical and mental qualities that reflect the elemental qualities of Space and Air - flighty, living up in their head, ungrounded. Our way life in itself is very flighty, we are always running from one frantic part of our lives to another, multi-tasking at every opportunity with little thought to living in the present moment. 

If you live this type of life, then you should be focusing your health efforts in reducing your almost certain Vata imbalance.

He says this:

  • Good digestion is the key to good health
  • Only eat when you feel settled and happy and never when you are angry - your food will never be digested if you eat with a negative frame of mind.
  • Undigested food forms ama in the body which is really the build-up of toxins that lead to many of our chronic western illnesses.

    To digest our food better ayurveda would suggest:
  • Only eat when you feel good
  • Only eat and don't do anything else at the same time - no TV, no newspapers, no technology only gentle conversation if you are dining with others. I think we'd call it mindful eating.
  • Never eat canned foods or re-heated foods - they are dead foods and offer no nutritional value
  • Cold raw food is inferior to cooked, warm, oily food for most people
  • If you want to eat something ofpoor nutritional value - e.g. alcohol or sweets - then have it in the spirit of celebration rather than as a reward or a pick-me-up when you're feeling bad.

We believe that ayurvedic eating in mindful eating, and the health benefits we've seen in our own lives have been beyond immense!